Imágenes de páginas

more: they then retired from the palace, without the least molestation, and returned to their respective homes. What occurred after their departure can Ire better conceived than depicted; medical aid was resorted to, but in vain, and upon the breathless body of the emperor, fell the tears of his widowed empress and. children, and domestics; nor was genuine grief ever more forcibly or feelingly displayed than by him on whose brow this melancholy event had planted the crown. So passed away this night of horror, and thus perished a prince, to whom nature was severely bountiful. The acuteness and pungency of his feeling \vas incompatible with happiness: unnatural prejudice pressed upon the fibre, too finely spun, and snapped it.

'Tis not as heads that never ache suppose
Forgery of fancy and a dream of woes;
Man is a harp, whose chords elude the sight,
Each yielding harmony, dispos'd aright;
The screws revers'd (a task which if he please
God in a moment executes with ease),
Ten thousand thousand strings at ouce go loose,
Lost, till he tune them, all their power and use.


The sun shone upon a new order of things. At seven o'clock the intelligence of the demise of Paul spread through the capital. The interval of time from its first communication to its diffusion over every part of Petersburg, was scarcely perceptible. At the parade Alexander presented himself on horseback, when the troops, with tears rolling down their rugged aud sun-browned faces, hailed him with loud and cordial acclamation. The young emperor was overwhelmed, and at the moment of mounting the throne of the most extensive empire under heaven, he was seen to turn from the grand and affecting spectacle, and weep.

What followed is of very subordinate consideration: but perhaps it will be eagerly asked, to what extremity did the avenging arm of Justice pursue the perpetrators of the deed? Mercy, the brightest jewel of every crown, and a forlorn and melancholy conviction, that the reigning motive was the salvation of the empire, prevented her from being vindictive. Never upon the theatre of life was there presented a scene of more affecting magnanimity ; decency, not revenge, governed the sacrifice. P—-— Z was ordered not to approach the imperial residence, and the governor of the city was transferred to Riga. As soon as Madame Chevalier wan informed of the demise of her imperial patron, she prepared, under the protection of her brother, a dancer, for flight, with a booty ef nearly a million of rubles. A police officer was sent to inspect and report upon her property: amongst a pile of valuable articles, be discovered a diamond cross of no great intrinsic value, which had been given by Peter I. to a branch of the imperial family, and on that account much esteemed; it was to recover this that the officer was sent, who obtained it, after the most indecent and unprincipled resistance on her part. Passports were then granted to Madame Chevalier and her brother. Thus terminated this extraordinary and impressive tragedy.


This Carthusian Monk, of Gallion in Normandy seems the only one of his venerable fraternity who has ever written upon subjects of Belles Lettres. The first two volumes of that learned and agreeable miscellany "Les Melanges de la Literature," which go under the name of Vigneuil de Merville, were compiled by him. The third volume was put together by the Abbe Banier, perhaps from the papers of the elegant Carthusian, who appears to have lived very much in the world. He occasionally speaks of his travels to Rome; and his observations seem replete with that knowledge and discrimination of character which a secluded life can never afford.

"The Painters," says he, in the second volumes of his Melanges, "who are enraptured with their art, take every opportunity of sketching any fine heads they happen to meet with, particularly when they have something extraordinary about them. An humble imitator of those Artists, I make pictures of those persons in whom I perceive any thing remarkable. Mr. M. N. is now under my pencil. He is a man of quality, sensible, handsome, and genteel. He is extremely pleasant in society, but knows not what it is to love, or to have a real regard for any one. He is of opinion, that the heart is given us merely to purify the blood, to set it in motion, and to render it perfect, and not to receive any impressions of tenderness or of attachment to mankind. He looks upon this principal part of ourselves as a simple machine, and nearly as the principal pump of Paris, which serves merely to raise the water of the Seine, and to distribute it through the city. Mr. M. N. pays visits, and is visited in his turn: he is polite to every one. Every person who meets him is always glad to see him, and when he quits him, it is always with some degree of regret. His understanding turns itself as he pleases, and he accommodates himself to the talents, and the turn of mind, and the capacity of every one who comes near him. He is a divine with divines, a philosopher with philosophers, a politician with politicians, a man of frolick with those who have that turn of mind. In short, prepared for any thing, he is the man of every person, and still the man of no one. He forgets you as soon as your back is turned, and never thinks but of pleasing those who are immediately before him. He passes imperceptibly from one scene to another, and from one character to another. He is /always himself, and yet he is never himself. He takes time as it comes. The day of yesterday remains not in his memory, and he never by care and by foresight anticipates that of to-morrow."

Dom' Noel wrote upon "Education," or, the "History of M. de Moncade," accompanied with some maxims and reflections. Rousseau appears to have read this work, and to have made some use of it in his "Emile." Dom' Noel's Treatise "Sur la Lecture det Peres de VEglise," or on the manner in which the fathers should be read, was a book much esteemed in the Catholic church of France.

Anecdote Op Dr. Butler, Late Bishop Of Cloyne.—This worthy prelate being on a visit to an old college friend, who had fitted up bis parsonage with great neatness, was complimenting him upon- his improvements. "Why aye, my lord, (says the doctor,) you have been plaguing me about marriage for some years back, and now you see I have got a trap at last." "Why, yes, doctor, (replied the bishop,) the trap's very well, but I'm afraid (looking him full in the face, which was none of the handsomest,) I'm afraid the woman won't like the bait."

Letter I.

* Old Chaucer, like the morning stmr,

To us discovers day from far,

Sis tight those mists and clouds dissolv'd.

Which our dork nation long involved."

Sin John Dejtham.

Chaucer has constantly been styled the father of English poetry. He possesses every claim to this high and honourable appellation, both from the number, variety, and excellence of his works, as well as their great superiority, not only to those who preceded him, pr even his cotemporaries, but even to many who succeeded him for centuries afterwards. His poetry is strictly in the language of nature, and is not deformed by a.n admixture of such unmeaning quibbles, and farfetched conceits, as are to be found in the works of Cowley and his cotemporaries. "I hold Chaucer," says Dryden, "in the same degree of veneration as the Grecians held Horner, or the Romans Virgil: he is a perpetual fountam of good sense; learned in sciences, and therefore speaks properly on all subjects; as be knew what to say, so also he knows when to leave off: a continence which is practised by few writers, and scarcely by any of the ancients, excepting Virgil and Horace." Dryden, indeed has given us a sufficient proof in what estimation he held the old bard, by his excellent version of some of the Canterbury Tales, and perhaps Chaucer is more known to the world through the medium of his great successor, than from his own intrinsic merit. It is a very general opinion that the poetry of Chaucer is almost as unintelligible to a modern reader, as if it were written in some foreign language, and that recourse must as often be had to a glossary on reading the former, as to a dictionary in studying the latter. Chaucer, we know, was born early in the 14th century, during the reign of Edward III. We also know that the English language was then in a most uncouth and barbarous state; how then, is it possible that those who live nearly 500 years ^fter him, should be able to enjoy his poetry. This is the language of those who have never attempted what they describe as impossible, and poor Chaucer i» left

Vol. IV. «

very quietly to sleep on the shelf, undisturbed, except by the researches of the antiquary. Ths verse of Chaucer, certainly, does not constantly appear harmonious to our ears, neither do I imagine that an uninterrupted flow of metre, and equality of numbers, were then considered as essentials: it was not till centuries after our poet's death, that English verse acquired that smoothness and polish which it now possesses. It was left for Waller and Dryden to give the tinish to what Chaucer had so nobly begun.

It is much to be lamented that Mr. Godwin did not devote some part of his Life of this great poet, to a more extensive history of, and criticism upon, the Canterbury Tales, in comparison of which, the greater part of Chaucer's other productions will seem uninteresting. They are so descriptive of the character and manners of the times, that "the pilgrims," says Dryden, "their humours, tTieir features, and their very dress, are as distinctly before me, as if I had supped with them at the Tabard in Southwark." Perhaps a few extracts from the prologue to the Canterbury Tales, may not be unacceptable to some of the readers of the Cabinet, which, when divested of the disguise of old Spelling, will not appear so unintelligible as is generally pupposed. Chaucer, after informing us that in the month of April it was usual for pilgrims to assemble at the shrine of " the holy martyr, at Canterbury," thui proceeds:

"Befel that in that season on a day,

In Southwark at the Tabart where 1 lay,

Ready to wendin on my pilgrimage

To Canterbury, with devout courage,

At night were come into that hosiery

Well nine and twenty in a company *

Of sundry folk, who by adventure fall

In fellowship, and pilgrims were they all.

That toward Canterbury wouldin ride *." ]. 19, &c.

He then describes the person, character, and condition of each of these pilgrims. I shall extract part of hi* description of " The Parson."

"A good man there was of religion,
And he was a poor parson of a town:

• Chancer very frequently finishes a sentence witU the first line of the verse.

« AnteriorContinuar »